Adapt gives the Countryside Code a wild rebrand to make visitors take notice

Taking inspiration from retro rural signage, the studio goes bold to counter research revealing that half of UK adults are unaware of the Countryside Code.

25 February 2022


As the Countryside Code celebrates its 70th anniversary, creative studio Adapt has given the code an illustrative refresh, aiming to promote the guidelines in a more engaging way. The campaign, entitled Know Your Code, is from footwear brand Merrell, who recently commissioned research indicating that 49 per cent of UK adults are unaware of what the Countryside Code is.

The Countryside Code, statutory guidance for those visiting rural areas on how to enjoy the great outdoors responsibly, has been re-worked by Adapt to merge its visual history with a “modernised” style, according to a release from the studio and Merrell. Looking back at the code’s communications history, Adapt were “struck by the vintage artwork and styling that was launched with it”. Drawing from classic countryside signage, Adapt opted for the route of referencing the code’s original colour palette and symbols to nod to its visual lifetime, leaning into the retro effect this produced.

The new iteration of the code gives some of its historic guidance a facelift too. Keeping your dog on a lead in fields has become “keep your friends close and your pooch closer” while closing gates behind you has been updated as “mess with mates not gates”.


Adapt: Countryside Code (Copyright © Merrell, 2022)

As time spent outdoors in rural areas increases in the UK, the campaign hopes to educate readers on behaving responsibly in the countryside to ensure its long-term protection. While the research behind Know Your Code reveals that 75 per cent are spending more time outdoors, it also revealed that 64 per cent of people aged 16-24 had never heard of the code, with one in ten adults believing that the Countryside Code was a book by a popular author.

Simon Sweeney, Merrell UK marketing manager, says: “The Know Your Code project brings colour and dynamism to long-standing guidelines and this modern take will help educate more people on how to be kind to nature and the environment in rural spaces.” With many reconnecting with nature after lockdown, “the new code serves as a fun and friendly reminder to be as nice to nature as it is to us,” Sweeney concludes.

GalleryAdapt: Countryside Code (Copyright © Merrell, 2022)

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Adapt: Countryside Code (Copyright © Merrell, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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